HP iPAQ 514 Voice Messenger review: HP iPAQ 514 Voice Messenger

The Good Wi-Fi onboard; Voice Commander software; runs Windows Mobile 6.

The Bad Sluggish performance; USB v1.1 data transfers; poor screen.

The Bottom Line The iPAQ 514 doesn't exactly set the pulse racing but it's a decent budget option for business users thanks to its good build quality, impressive battery life and Windows Mobile 6 software

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6.5 Overall

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HP has been banging out PDAs based on the Pocket PC operating system seemingly since Microsoft was in short trousers, but the iPAQ 514 Voice Messenger is its first attempt at a Windows Mobile smart phone.

The handset is mostly aimed at business users and with a SIM-free price tag of just £176 it is significantly cheaper than rival smart phones from companies such as SPV and HTC.

The grey and black colour scheme and solid build quality means the iPAQ 514 looks and feels like a serious business tool. It's also one of only a handful of phones around at the moment that comes loaded with Windows Mobile 6 -- the latest version of Microsoft's phone OS.

Version 6 may look similar to the previous iteration but it includes a number of useful updates including improved predictive text, a handy new preview screen in the Calendar as well as Pocket Word, Excel and Powerpoint for editing documents while you're out and about.

On top of this, HP has added its own Voice Commander software. Hold down the button on the right-hand side of the phone and you can talk to your handset. Ask it 'What time is it?' and it'll speak the current time in a robotic voice. You can also ask it to read aloud a text message or just instruct it to start playing music. In a quiet room it works very well but it's a bit trickier to get it to respond correctly in a noisier environment, such as a moving car.

As you would expect with a Windows Mobile device the connectivity options are very good. It supports data on GPRS or EDGE networks and there's also built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. You can even use it to make VoIP calls using Skype or SIP software.

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